Meb For Mortals – Book Review

“Meb For Mortals: How to Run, Eat, And Think like a Marathon Champion.”

I had the honor to get an advanced copy of Meb for Mortals and to say I was thrilled is an understatement! My inner running nerd geeked out.

Oh how I would love to run like Meb Keflezighi. I would even settle for having 1/10th of his speed. My hope in reading this book was that I would have better insight into being a better runner. I want to know this Boston Marathon winners secrets…there has to be secrets, right?!

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 12.20.27 PM

Tell me more than it’s just DNA/genetics that has made Meb a running icon. My hopes in reading this book that the curtains would be pulled back to reveal the strategies on how to be the runner I want to be. Meb for Mortals, did not disappoint. There are personal stories of the ups and downs.

There are behind the scenes as to what Meb does daily. Personal reflections of experiences that show that Meb is just a meer mortal like the rest of us.

“I wrote this book for all runners eager to learn how to most effectively improve and enjoy their running.”

I read everything I can get my hands on when it comes to running. I am not an effortless runner. On good days, I feel like a baby elephant trying to run. Throughout this book, Meb gives practical advice. He doesn’t just talk about what every “expert” talks about. He gives the real “what’s” and “why’s” of how to improve. I think that’s what we all strive for.

We all want to be better. We want to get to that point that each race is a race for improvement.

3 Keys to Success in Running according to Meb…

  1. Good goals
  2. Commitment
  3. Hard work

Think about it. Have you set good, progressive running goals? Or have you shot out of the gate registered for a marathon not really understanding what is involved?

Has your commitment been there for your training?

Meb quotable:

“Situations requiring a decision that will affect your progress come up all the time: when you run, whom you run with, where you run; what you eat, when you eat, how much you eat; how much you sleep; even how you sit at work. Being a committed runner means being aware of these situations and more often than not making a good choice.”

Hard work…where to begin. Do you have a training plan? Do you follow it? <<<< BIG QUESTION!

“Your decisions affect your progress”

Let that one sit with you for a sec. If you don’t do the work, you don’t get the results.

“Be a student of the sport”

Yes!!! I’m on track Meb (get it…on track…see what I did there?! #runnersjoke)

You’ll find chapters dedicated to stretching, strength training, nutrition. In each of these chapters are personal stories, reflections from races, insights from a top-level athlete and conversations he has with his family.

I know I can be a better runner if I am more diligent with stretching. Meb gives a series of stretches along with how it has helped him year after year.

“Stretching after a run is a time to reflect on the work I just did.”

“…taking 10 minutes a day to become a faster, more efficient more injury resistant runner sounds like a pretty good investment to me”

Duly noted Meb, and I will use that time now for both benefits!

{Fun Fact} Meb is the first man to win the Boston Marathon wearing compression socks.,

Nutrition…As a nutritionist and trainer this chapter had me intrigued and hooked at the first sentence. Meb is honest throughout the entire book. He shares that he noticed his metabolism slow down when he hit 34/35 years old. Welcome to the team friend, welcome to the team!

Meb watches what he eats. YES he does. You would think, uber runner, perfect genetics he can eat whatever he wants…not the case. 

“We have to set aside that idea of “I run so much, I should eat whatever I want” if we want to do every- thing possible to meet our goals.” preach Meb, preach!!

Here is more Meb insight:

“I don’t agree with the idea that you should gorge yourself the night before a marathon. That one meal isn’t going to be what determines whether you run strong to the finish. Eating too much could lead to stomach issues or pit stops the next morning, as well as interfere with your sleep. You should feel full but not bloated after your dinner the night before a marathon.”

Thanks for putting that in print Meb and hopefully put an end to this carb loading nonsense that is so 1970’s.

{Another Fun Fact} Meb and I share something in common (really)…

we both have a crazy sweet tooth. We both apply the principle of out of sight out of mind. If it’s not in the house to tempt me, then I wont give in to it!

Strength training is another key component to Meb’s success. He details a set of strength training moves that every runner should adopt into their training program. I get this question all of the time from runners, “Why do I need to strength train?” Meb answers it perfectly.

“You’ll run faster and feel better doing so because your muscles will work in sync as they’re meant to.”

I’m using that line from here on out, thanks Meb, well said!

Meb for Mortals is a great read for all runners. The stories he shares is what makes this not only inspiring but motivational for all of us who want to be better runners.

Meb knows running. Read this book and I guarantee you will come away with insight on how to make your runs better.

“Not every race you run is going to be a home run. But every race, good or bad, can be a learning experience. Do an assessment after each race. Wait at least until later that day, when the emotions of the moment have lessened. Ask yourself, “Did I give
100 percent? Did I run up to my ability on that day?” If so, hold your head high. What more could you ask of yourself?”

Commit to being better and watch change happen!

Want to learn more about Meb? Here is a great article about him from Runners World
http://www.runnersworld.com/tag/meb-keflezighi

Go and get this book!!
http://www.amazon.com/Meb-For-Mortals-Champion-Marathoner/dp/1623365473

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They’re Not Afraid to Say It: ‘Fat Yoga’

Ms. Ipox does not answer yes. Instead, she said, “I make them say it: Say, ‘Is this Fat Yoga?’ ”

That’s the proper name of the studio, and one that many people struggle to spit out. One caller, typical of others, refused to respond directly, instead replying, “Well, how do I know you’re fat?”

“People think ‘fat’ means slovenly, uncontrolled, dirty or lazy,” Ms. Ipox said. “It doesn’t.”

In addition to the fact that the word fat feels fraught, it’s not usually paired with yoga. Yoga conjures stringy, bendy, barely clothed bodies — not soft, round ones. But that’s the stereotype that specialized classes and studios, like Fat Yoga, around the country are trying to combat in an effort to reclaim the practice for people of all body types.

In New York, there’s MegaYoga, Buddha Body Yoga and Yoga for Abundant Bodies. There’s Curvy Yoga in Nashville, HeavyWeight Yoga in Austin, Tex., and Big Yoga in Buckingham, Va., among others.

“I’m more interested in working with the large bodies,” Mr. Hayes said.CreditBrian Harkin for The New York Times

“Many fat people have had terrible experiences at a regular studio, where the teacher assumes they’re a beginner, is unwilling to touch them or is condescending and sees them through their own prejudice,” said Ragen Chastain, a writer in Los Angeles who blogs at danceswithfat.org.

She said she applauds the honest labeling of these specialized studios.

“If you sell bubble gum, you want a sign that says you sell bubble gum,” Ms. Chastain said. “These names say, ‘fat yoga here.’ If you’re fat and want to do yoga, go here.”

The language is not incidental; it is no mere marketing gimmick meant to set people whispering.

“I wanted something that was unapologetically and enthusiastically voluptuous, and not as p.c. as ‘Yoga for people who have pleasing curves,’ ” said Megan Stancill, who teaches a class called MegaYoga at studios in New York. “People pussyfoot around saying it, and I wanted to make it really clear who this was for. It’s for people who are large.”

Not everyone buys into yoga’s new linguistics.

“Words are tricky,” said Tracy Weber, who holds a class called Yoga for Round Bodies at her Seattle studio. “ ‘Fat’ may be an empowering word to someone, but for me it’s a word that made me feel less than. If someone puts that word to me, I feel bad.”

But most of these instructors have a similar intent: to associate yoga with images that transcend the Instagramification of perfectly fit people in the King Pigeon pose, so that it feels accessible to all.

“It’s been said that yoga in America is miles wide but only an inch deep,” said Abby Lentz, who owns HeavyWeight Yoga. “But it’s spreading to places that it’s never been before, and that includes people who thought, ‘The only way I’m going to be able to do this is if I lose weight first.’ ”

Mr. Hayes leading a yoga class. CreditBrian Harkin for The New York Times

Instructors of yoga aimed for large people customize the practice for their clientele. In yoga, unlike other workouts like running or Zumba, it is necessary to adapt your practice to your body size — something some teachers don’t know how to do, said Amber Karnes, who teaches Body Positive Yoga in Charlottesville, Va.

Jayvin Jordan-Green, 28, a student at Fat Yoga, found the studio by Googling “fat yoga,” he said. He wanted a place to practice where the teacher wouldn’t assume he was going through the flow to lose weight.

“I’ve had teachers who said, ‘This is going to help you stay thin,’ or ‘This is going to get rid of this unwanted roll here if we keep practicing,’ he said. “It’s like, ‘Maybe I like that roll, maybe the people I date like that roll.’ I had a lot of teachers treat me like I’m their special project. They’ll say, ‘I’m going to make you the buffest person.’ They see me as the ‘after’ picture, when I don’t want to be the ‘after’ picture.”

Some purveyors are adamant about exclusivity. Michael Hayes, who owns Buddha Body Yoga in New York, refuses to let smaller people take his classes; if you’re too skinny, you are shut out.

“Am I excluding small people for larger people?” he said. “The answer would be yes. There are lots of studios for people who are smaller.”

At his studio, he once refused three tiny women who wanted to take a class.

“People who are slender aren’t happy about it,” he said of his policy. “The shock, annoyance and pissed-off-ness is really profound. But I’m more interested in working with the large bodies.”

But other yogis are more flexible. Ms. Ipox of Fat Yoga said the point is to welcome people of all sizes. She said potential students often ask, “Am I fat enough?”

“I had to find a way to say to someone, ‘You’re plenty fat’ or ‘It’s O.K., you’re fat,’ ” she said. “The script is completely flipped. A lot of people wouldn’t call themselves fat anywhere but Fat Yoga, where being called fat is a good thing.”

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below.

40 Travel Tips that will change your life!

There are so many great suggestions on this list. Take note and use them on your next trip!
Let me know what tips you have that are not on the list!

#1. Use a private or incognito window when booking flights and hotels online.

Use%20a%20private%20or%20incognito%20window%20when%20booking%20flights%20and%20hotels%20online.

Travel sites often track your visits and will raise the price simply because you’ve visited before.

#2. Keep loose chargers and cables organized with a glasses case.

Keep%20loose%20chargers%20and%20cables%20organized%20with%20a%20glasses%20case.

#3. Use straws to carry travel-size amounts of skin care products.

Use%20straws%20to%20carry%20travel-size%20amounts%20of%20skin%20care%20products.

#4. Put a dryer sheet at the bottom of a suitcase to keep your clothes smelling fresh.

Put%20a%20dryer%20sheet%20at%20the%20bottom%20of%20a%20suitcase%20to%20keep%20your%20clothes%20smelling%20fresh.

diaryofasocialgal.com

#5. Use a spring from an old pen to protect chargers from bending and breaking.

Use%20a%20spring%20from%20an%20old%20pen%20to%20protect%20chargers%20from%20bending%20and%20breaking.

#6. Skip the long lines for airport bathrooms.

Skip%20the%20long%20lines%20for%20airport%20bathrooms.

quora.comIt may seem like common logic, but the first bathroom in the terminal is the most crowded one. Use the next one to skip the long waits and save precious time.

#7. Use a binder clip to protect the head of shaving razors.

Use%20a%20binder%20clip%20to%20protect%20the%20head%20of%20shaving%20razors.

#8. If you forget your wall plug, charge devices through the USB slot on a TV.

If%20you%20forget%20your%20wall%20plug%2C%20charge%20devices%20through%20the%20USB%20slot%20on%20a%20TV.

#9. Roll clothes, instead of folding, to save tons of baggage space.

Roll clothes, instead of folding, to save tons of baggage space.

youtube.com

#10. If you have clothes that need to be folded, use tissue paper to keep them from wrinkling.

If%20you%20have%20clothes%20that%20need%20to%20be%20folded%2C%20use%20tissue%20paper%20to%20keep%20them%20from%20wrinkling.

#11. Use a pill container to keep jewelry organized and untangled.

Use%20a%20pill%20container%20to%20keep%20jewelry%20organized%20and%20untangled.

#12. Scan important documents before leaving for your trip.

Scan%20important%20documents%20before%20leaving%20for%20your%20trip.

lifehack.orgIn the event of theft or misplacement, it comes in really handy to have extra copies of your passport, identification cards and flight itineraries that you can easily access on your smartphone or tablet.

#13. Speed Up Going Through Security

Speed%20Up%20Going%20Through%20Security%20

When going through security, stuff your small belongings like wallets, keys and phones into your bag before placing it on the conveyor belt. It eliminates the need for separate bins and saves you time.

#14. Tuck your soap and wash cloth together with this easy-to-fold pouch.

Tuck%20your%20soap%20and%20wash%20cloth%20together%20with%20this%20easy-to-fold%20pouch.

Nikki Mans

#15. A shower cap is an easy way to cover the bottoms of shoes.

A%20shower%20cap%20is%20an%20easy%20way%20to%20cover%20the%20bottoms%20of%20shoes.

forblabla.com

#16. Put smartphones in airplane mode to save battery and charge faster.

Put%20smartphones%20in%20airplane%20mode%20to%20save%20battery%20and%20charge%20faster.

#17. Keep your headphones from tangling by winding them around a binder clip.

Keep your headphones from tangling by winding them around a binder clip.

huffingtonpost.com

#18. Keep hair clips tidy with an empty Tic Tac container.

Keep%20hair%20clips%20tidy%20with%20an%20empty%20Tic%20Tac%20container.

#19. When packing, line collars with a belt to keep them crispy.

When packing, line collars with a belt to keep them crispy.

youtube.com

#20. Sit in the seats near the wing of the plane for the least turbulence.

Sit%20in%20the%20seats%20near%20the%20wing%20of%20the%20plane%20for%20the%20least%20turbulence.%20

complex.comThe seats along the wings of a plane usually have the least amount of bounce when flying because it has more structural support.

#21. Keep your travel-size containers and refill them, instead of buying new each time.

Keep%20your%20travel-size%20containers%20and%20refill%20them%2C%20instead%20of%20buying%20new%20each%20time.

lifehacker.com

#22. To use Google Maps offline, type “OK Maps,” and the visible area will save for future access.

To%20use%20Google%20Maps%20offline%2C%20type%20%u201COK%20Maps%2C%u201D%20and%20the%20visible%20area%20will%20save%20for%20future%20access.

wired.com

#23. Cram the most into your carry on.

Cram%20the%20most%20into%20your%20carry%20on.

mywomenstuff.comVacuum sealed bags can save you a ridiculous amount of space in your carry on. Makes the need for checking a bag obsolete.

#24. Instead of buying water at the airport, bring an empty bottle along and fill it up after passing security.

Instead%20of%20buying%20water%20at%20the%20airport%2C%20bring%20an%20empty%20bottle%20along%20and%20fill%20it%20up%20after%20passing%20security.

#25. When reserving airline seats for 2 people, get the aisle and window.

When%20reserving%20airline%20seats%20for%202%20people%2C%20get%20the%20aisle%20and%20window.

If no one takes the middle seat you get a full row, and if someone does, just ask to switch so you can sit next to your travel partner.

#26. Pack your suit coats inside out to keep them clean and avoid creasing.

Pack your suit coats inside out to keep them clean and avoid creasing.

davehax

#27. Wait to buy airline tickets until 3 p.m. on Tuesdays.

Wait%20to%20buy%20airline%20tickets%20until%203%20p.m.%20on%20Tuesdays.%20

Typically this is when the big Airlines reduce their fares in order to compete with the discount airlines like Southwest and JetBlue. If you’re looking to save some money, this is the time to buy.

#28. Prevent messy spills in your luggage.

Prevent messy spills in your luggage.

Just unscrew the lids and place a simple patch of saran wrap on the top and screw them back on. This will prevent any liquids from ruining your trip.

#29. Certain times are better for using the airplane bathroom.

Certain%20times%20are%20better%20for%20using%20the%20airplane%20bathroom.

quora.comSince most airlines don’t let you stand in line for the restrooms, the best times to use it are right after the plane has leveled off and 15-20 minutes before landing.

#30. Get the WiFi password for many establishments by checking the comments section of FourSquare.

Get%20the%20WiFi%20password%20for%20many%20establishments%20by%20checking%20the%20comments%20section%20of%20FourSquare.

lifehacker.com

#31. Use your GPS when traveling abroad.

Use%20your%20GPS%20when%20traveling%20abroad.%20

If you’re traveling abroad without an international plan, turn on airplane mode and turn off data to use the GPS without connecting to the internet. Simply load the Google map of the area before heading out the hotel, and you’ve got a fully functional map to navigate the area.

#32. Get a free cell phone charger if you forgot yours at home.

Get%20a%20free%20cell%20phone%20charger%20if%20you%20forgot%20yours%20at%20home.

quora.comForget your charger? Often times hotel front desk’s will have a box full of chargers left by previous guests.

#33. Skip the wait at the baggage claim.

Skip%20the%20wait%20at%20the%20baggage%20claim.%20

lifehack.orgEven if it’s not, marking your bag with a fragile label leads to gentler handling by airport staff. Also, they’re often loaded on the top of the other luggage meaning it’s one of the first to come out at the baggage claim.

#34. Save time packing on the go.

Save time packing on the go.

davehaxHanging organizers can be packed ahead of time making it really simple to slide into your suitcase and leave in a hurry.

#35. Remove other tourist from your vacation photos.

Remove%20other%20tourist%20from%20your%20vacation%20photos.

#36. Use ATMs instead of airport currency exchanges to save money.

Use%20ATMs%20instead%20of%20airport%20currency%20exchanges%20to%20save%20money.

Many ATMs will offer much lower rates than what you can get from the airport currency exchanges.

#37. Get free WiFi at airports

Get%20free%20WiFi%20at%20airports

security.stackexchange.comWhen you’re at the airport, add “?.jpg” to the end of any URL to get around the ludicrously expensive WiFi. Alternatively, you can sit right outside an airport club lounge: Wi-Fi signals often glide through the walls.

#38. For bonus points, travel with a power strip and be the airport hero.

For%20bonus%20points%2C%20travel%20with%20a%20power%20strip%20and%20be%20the%20airport%20hero.

#39. As a treat to yourself, send yourself a postcard from each day of your travels

As%20a%20treat%20to%20yourself%2C%20send%20yourself%20a%20postcard%20from%20each%20day%20of%20your%20travels

It’ll be a nice treat to come home to and make the transition back to reality easier.

#40. On your last day in a foreign country, collect all your loose money and give it to the homeless.

On%20your%20last%20day%20in%20a%20foreign%20country%2C%20collect%20all%20your%20loose%20money%20and%20give%20it%20to%20the%20homeless.

savingourfuture.com

Running Strong by Dr Jordan Metzel – Book Review

I had the honor of getting an advanced copy of Dr Jordan Metzl’s new book Running Strong which will be available on Monday April 6, 2015.

I’m a Kinesiology major, so my inner sports science nerd was pretty excited.

The book opens with a dedication.

“Every morning around the world alarms ring at 5:30 a.m. In every country, in every bed, athletes debate with themselves: Do I hit the snooze button, or do I swing my feet over the side of the bed and go running? This book is dedicated to the millions of runners who, against all logic, suppress the desire to stay in bed. They kick off the covers and swing their legs around to hit the floor. May the knowledge in these pages and videos keep you moving ahead with health and enthusiasm for many years to come.”

You had me at the dedication Dr. Jordan Metzl!

I was interested in reading this for a few reasons:

  • I am not a natural runner, its tough for me #TheStruggleIsReal
  • I’m a 40 yr old (why did I type that?!) Mom, wife, and business owner so injury prevention is at the top of my list. I can’t afford to be sidelined with injuries
  • I love running and the science of running. To get the perspective on an athletic Dr who run’s totally had my interest.
  • I want to be a better runner.

Dr. Jordan is an athlete. He’s a runner, so he gets it.

The book is written like he is talking to you not at you. It’s the conversation we have all wanted to have with our Dr’s. Real answers, not complicated and not full of medical jargon that we have to Google. He breaks down what’s going on with your body. He does it is such a way that if you have an injury you can better explain it to your Dr so you can get the help you are looking for  need.

This book is a complete guide to becoming, being and remaining a great runner. Dr. Metzl starts from the ground up and answers all of those questions that you’ve asked  on forums, asked your friends and of course asked on Facebook.

He explains the whys, the how’s and the fixes on how to be a better runner and uses case studies from his patients to show that even when dealing with an injury or setback you can get back to where you were.

Power quote:

“Daily exercise – even when you’re injured is the best medicine”

The body is made to move. You don’t need to lay on the couch for weeks if you have an injury. You can always do something.

Chapter 4 – Feet & Ankles…this was my chapter. I read each word with laser focus. I have be battling plantar fasciitis for over a year and its terrible. Dr. Jordan goes over what’s happening in your body , prevention & treatment – he pairs this with the how to’s of stretching, foam rolling and strength training.

“Regular exercise is literally an antidepressant for many people”

Preach Dr Jordan, preach!!

I have worked with thousands of clients over the years and I can say that with 100% certainty that exercise changes your life. Even if you have limitations there is always a way around them…always!

Obviously, I am designating myself  a card carrying member of Dr Jordan’s fan club. Perhaps, I am even lobbying for the position of President.

Page after page the book kept getting better. Then we get to the chapter on the benefits of strength training…YES, this is my language! A Dr who runs? And understands how the body moves? And says loud and clear you need to strength train!!!  You need a strong upper body and core to balance those strong legs.

The IronStrength workout designed by Dr Jordan is a complete and comprehensive total body workout. He teaches you how to put it all together… yes, literally a prescription for your workout…boom!

There is no stone unturned in this book… he talks about:

  • the mind/body connection
  • nutrition/food: how you burned 293 calories on your 30 min run and then wiped it out by having a grande vanilla latte which comes in at 250 calories – you wonder why you aren’t losing weight?!
  • overuse injuries
  • stomach issues (read between the lines on that one)
  • shoes and gear…now he is speaking my language of love!
  • how to design YOUR training program / schedule

You may have guessed it by now…I am strongly recommending this book as a must read for every level of runner:

  • Beginner (couch to 5k)
  • Intermediate (10 milers)
  • Advanced and (marathoners)
  • Crazy! (tri-athletes)

Don’t just take my word for it though, get your own copy by pre-ordering here now!
Available in paperback and for the Kindle

 

 

 

Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas – 1st time cruiser recap

This recap/review is from first time cruiser and my friend Jodi. Its an overview of her experiences from a first time cruisers perspective. Give it a read, let me know if you have been on the Quantum of the Seas or other cruises you recommend. I can’t wait to book our next vacation!!

 

We had no idea what to expect on our first cruise, but it was everything we imagined and then some. For those of you wondering what it was like (not only for us as first time cruisers, but also because it’s a brand new ship that started sailing in November 2014 and is the most technology driven cruise ship to sail the seas), I thought I would share some points on the cruise. Apologies in advance for the long post.

 

Quantum of the Seas

 

As a ship that has technology at the heart of everything, Quantum of the Seas was the perfect first ship to sail for someone like me who is a tech geek at heart.

 

royal caribbean quantum of the seas

 

In addition to the regular SeaPass cards that are standard issue on other ships, the Quantum also gives passengers an RFID Wow Band that we wore on our wrists. We used it to open our stateroom door, to charge purchases to our room, for croupiers to track payers at the tables in the casino, to sign up for activities, etc. Very convenient and eliminated the need to carry the SeaPass around our necks (although the SeaPass did the same job as the Wow Bands, so passengers had a choice).

wowbands

 

A new app called Royal IQ for Android and iOS meant that passengers no longer need walkie talkies to stay in touch with family on board. It includes IM and VoIP features so calls and texts to one another is the standard way to connect. Plus, it includes a directory so you can even call the various onboard services, from Room Service, to Restaurants, to Guest Services, etc. The app also enables you to see your statement in real time, as well as your schedule of activities. You can also reserve restaurants and shows through the app. What’s best about it is that it uses the ship’s Wi-Fi system to connect and using all aspects of the app is free.

 

Thanks to a new satellite system for Internet connectivity that Royal Caribbean has put in place, they have been able to significantly drop the cost of Internet access on board. Unlimited Internet access for one device at a time (you can use the same login on multiple devices, but only one at a time) cost us $120 for the week. I thought that was incredibly reasonable. Downside of this is that the kids (and I) were online more frequently than I would have liked. Upside is that I could share photos throughout the trip.

 

Dynamic Dining is the name of the game on Quantum. What this means is that instead of going to a main dining room at a set (or flexible) time for dinners, and being at the same table and having the same waiter each night, you instead reserved to go to different restaurants every night (or you could choose the same restaurant every night if you wanted). There are around six or so restaurants that are complimentary for dinners and a few specialty restaurants that you pay for if you choose to go to them. Except for Japanese, we chose to do complimentary dining each night and the food was really good. The restaurants change their menus halfway through the cruise, so you have new choices if you decide to go back to a restaurant. Lunch options were also plentiful and the food everywhere was really good. You have to be patient to find a table at breakfast in the Windjammer (although there are other places to get breakfast as well), but I loved their oatmeal so it was worth the wait. Waiters in restaurants also use an iPad for tableside capturing and placing of orders.

dynamic-dining-quantum-of-the-seas

Unlike other ships that have one or two formal nights for everyone on board, you only had formal nights if you chose to eat in The Grande, which we did. I can only imagine that on traditional cruises it must be fantastic to see everyone dressed up on the same night. Whereas here, it was only those going to The Grande (where the food was outstanding!). The rest of the time, although it calls for smart casual for dinners, dressed up jeans were very common and acceptable.

The ship is spotless throughout with Purell stations everywhere. Before going into the Windjammer, guests are encouraged to wash their hands at the wash stations provided at the entrance. And as you finish eating, staff are standing by to remove your dishes and sanitize your table and chairs. Their primary focus for this is to prevent Norovirus on the ship. I’m not sure what it’s like on other ships, but I couldn’t be happier to see their focus on preventative measures.

Another place where technology was ever-present was in the Bionic Bar. A DJ plays music and robots dance to the music while putting together your drink order, which you place via an iPad.

 

BionicBar

 

bioic bar 2

Our stateroom was fantastic. We had a balcony stateroom mid-ship and on a higher deck (11). The main bed is a king and the kids slept on the couch that was converted to a double bed each night. The rooms are so well designed that closet space was plentiful – even though we had three very full suitcases between us (and lots of shoes!)

The gym on board is amazing. Tons of cardio equipment, state of the art weight machines, personal trainers if you want them, and classes you can sign up for. The mornings in the gym were insane, so if you plan to go and don’t want to wait for a treadmill, afternoons are best. As the treadmills are at a 90 degree to the ship, running on one felt very weird. Running around the track that circles the ship was much better – although unusable on the days when it’s either windy or rainy (which was three of our at sea days since we were doing the cruise in winter and it leaves from New Jersey). Classes are offers for TRX, yoga, spinning, etc. but the biggest issue is that it is first come first served, so those who got to the gym soon after coming on board pretty much filled up all available spots for classes running on each day of the cruise. They should offer more classes at different times of the day.

bumber cars

Quantum has some great activities on board, from bumper cars and circus school (trapeze – which my daughter did) to rollerblading. The SeaPlex is the venue for all these activities and more. Plus, there’s also the climbing wall, but since it’s outside is closed in poor weather conditions.

The FlowRider is a great experience. They offer everything from boogie boarding to traditional surfing, with different schedules for different levels. They also offer what they call private lessons (which my daughter did) but they are actually semi-private, with class sizes of up to 8 people. So within an hour lesson, you get to go four times – and each turn is until you wipe out.

Two very unique activities offered on the Quantum include the Ripcord by iFly and the North Star. iFly is indoor skydiving and included for each passenger is a 1 minute experience. It sounds crazy for it to be such a short period of time (you can go longer, but the prices are high), but believe me when I say that it was plenty long enough for someone that has never gone skydiving before. The instructor was amazing as was the experience. Truly unlike anything I’ve ever done before. Only downside is that you can’t take cameras into the waiting area (the wind tunnel sucks up everything!!) so unless you have another family member or friend outside, you aren’t going to be able to capture video of your experience. The North Star is a capsule (think London Eye) that takes you up and away from the ship’s deck so you can get a high up view of it. The lineups for this were always long 1.5 to 2 hours, so we never went on it. I suspect going on port days or for when it opens first thing in the morning is the best option for shorter lines.

 

The entertainment on board is truly amazing. Lots of singers/performers in the various bars and locations throughout the ship. Plus their featured shows (except for Star Water, which we though was bizarre beyond words) are incredible. There was a hypnotist, Mama Mia (brilliant performance that rivals Broadway), an amazing singer, and Sonic Odyssey (probably our favourite performance of the trip).

In terms of shopping, this ship is clearly aimed at passengers with money. Aside from the $10 t-shirt and accessory sales, and discounted watch sales, everything in the stores is priced for those that can afford high end jewelry, clothing, purses, and art. I would love to have seen some better priced items too.

As for our stops, here’s a quick rundown. Port Canaveral gave us an opportunity to spend some time at the beach. Definitely worthwhile to take the shuttle excursion for this. CocoCay in the Bahamas was fantastic. We rented foam floaties and pretty much relaxed on them in the cove the whole day. The only thing I wasn’t impressed with here is we wanted to rent a cabana for the day, but online it didn’t tell us that this option was for suites only. So when we went to try and book one within an hour or two of coming on board the ship, they were all already taken with a waiting list for those wanting one. I wish they would have been upfront on the website and told us that it was for suites only. In hindsight though, I’m glad it wasn’t available as there was really no need for it. The floaties were perfect. Also loved that lunch was provided by RC since it’s their Island. Nassau was a day we used purely for shopping. There are some free beaches, including one close to the port, but decided to see what the island had to offer instead. Going to Atlantis on Paradise Island is ridiculously expensive so we decided to give that a pass as it just wasn’t worth it in our opinion.

I loved the diversity of staff on board. Lots of crew from South Africa and other far away places. Although I know this is standard on other cruises too. The staff were amazing and couldn’t do enough for you.

Our cruise director, Ken Rush, is one of Royal Caribbean’s longest standing employees (30 years) and he was fantastic. Great sense of humour and did a really wonderful job of keeping us entertained in each of the activities he hosted. All were a ton of fun!!

Overall, we loved our first cruise experience. Coming out of NJ in winter is not ideal because of the iffy weather until you get further south. But I would probably do it again as there are so many activities on board that you never run out of things to do – even if they are indoors.

Elevators are plentiful, and there was generally never an issue to get onto one. Although we did try to use stairs where possible (that’s what happens when you wear a FitBit… I exceeded 10,000 steps on most days on board).

Based on conversations with people who cruise regularly, they liked the modern and high tech approach of the Quantum, but they prefer the Allure or Oasis (which is bigger and has more shopping options, among other features). We’ve already got Allure booked for December (that was supposed to be our first cruise until I decided to book a March break getaway), and are looking forward to experiencing that ship.

 

Thank you so much Jodi for such a great and detailed review. I can’t wait to book my next cruise!

You can follow Jodi on Twitter at @jodiechakowitz

Do you have a fitness bucket list?

Today’s blog post is all about your bucket list. I have written about goals, goal setting, to do lists, objectives, etc.  So, naturally, we should talk about a bucket list.

There is something emotional about having a bucket list.

Most people wont spend the time to sit down and write out their goals but they will put together a bucket list…they are very similar thing.  A goal is something you are striving to accomplish with a set time frame and measurable increments to judge your progress.  The bucket list is something you want to accomplish, before you die.

A bucket list is a list of things you want to do, places you want to go, people to meet…before you kick the bucket.

So many people pay lip service about “putting things on their bucket list.” But I always wonder if they have taken the time to write it down and visualize it.

Why is it so difficult to have goals…something to actually work towards??

Well I think you should have a few bucket lists….(here comes the fitness segway).  A couple or more bucket lists is a great idea.  Of course, I am going to talk about making your fitness bucket list.

This can be as intense as you want, as rewarding as you want or as simple as you want.

Here are a few to get your started:

  • learn to swim / or swim at a certain destination or a certain distance
  • take dance lessons
  • run a marathon or half marathon
  • do a one handed pushup
  • do 20 burpees
  • learn to rollerblade or ice skate
  • go hiking
  • try rock climbing
  • lose the weight and finally see your abs

The list is endless….its your list…build it and work your way through it. It is amazing what you can accomplish if you actually try, and not just talk about it.

Those things that you say “oh, I could never do that” are not allowed!  You have to , “Heck yes I can!!”  You just actually have to put effort in and TRY.

Do you want to live a life of what ifs or regrets or do you want to look back on your days with a, “Hell yes I did that!!!

“We do not remember the days, we remember the moments”

Life is meant to be lived. When you look back on your life will you say “oh, I wish I would’ve stayed at work longer” NO…you will say I wish I would’ve …

So stop wishing and start doing. Live with purpose.  Try new things, get experiences, have stories to tell your grandkids—stop being vanilla.

You are capable of so much, so stop living with limits.  Not to be cliché but live in color, live out loud, make some crazy memories. Try new things.  Love with all of your heart and stop holding back.

Now take 5 minutes and write out your list!!!

 

So true!

Make your own!

Oh yes!

Gonna fly now

Almost there!